Sunday, June 17, 2018

Bert Lahr: Father

The Telegraph: John Lahr remembers his father Bert Lahr. An excerpt:

When you grow up in the household of a star, certain privileges accrue. You get to watch the Macy’s Day Parade from the window of Ethel Merman’s Central Park apartment, to carry Buster Keaton’s ukulele to the train station, to pick up Groucho Marx from the hotel. Your godfather is Eddy Foy Jnr, one of vaudeville’s Seven Little Foys, who, when his wife threatened to leave him, nailed all her clothes to the floor. You learn quickly that these public figures are more complicated than they seem, that there is often a confounding disparity between their perfect poise on stage and their haplessness off it. Inevitably, for my sister and myself, mystery surrounded Dad and the business of show. The performing self and the alchemy of performance – the transition from ordinary to extraordinary, the turning of private torment into public triumph – became an abiding fascination.

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